- Minneriya National Park
Virgin Holidays' view
Our Sri Lanka Explorer tours are designed to fit in with you, these three-night packages fit perfectly into the middle of your Sri Lanka beach stay. From climbing the spectacular Sigiriya Rock to safari in Minneriya, this tour around the Cultural Triangle will leave you feeling totally immersed in this beautiful country. The best bit? Travelling with your very own local driver/guide — they will make your experience in Sri Lanka truly special, with expert knowledge, local insights and a personalised service.
Day 1: Depart Colombo
After an early breakfast, depart for Habarana by road (approximately 4–5 hours from Negombo/Colombo). Upon arrival enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Commonly referred to as the ‘Cultural Triangle’, the central plains area boasts of temple ruins and ancient cities combined with national parks and glistening reservoirs. UNESCO World Heritage Sites include the striking rock fortress of Sigirya, Dambulla’s Royal Rock Temple and crumbling archaeological treasures of Polonnaruwa. Habarana is a popular tourist destination for safari lovers as it is the starting point for safaris in the nearby Minneriya sanctuary, heavily populated by elephants. This makes the area an enthralling visit for wildlife and cultural lovers alike. Enjoy 3 nights at the Habarana Village by Cinnamon or similar (4V option), Cinnamon Lodge or similar (5V option) or Jetwing Vil Uyana or similar (boutique option). (B,D)
Day 2: Sigiriya and Minneriya
In the morning, visit the magnificent site of Sigiriya Rock. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Sri Lanka's major attractions, highlights include the water gardens, the mirror wall with ancient graffiti, the lion platform and the summit of 1.6 hectares, which was completely covered by buildings during the period of Sigiriya's glory. In the afternoon you will drive to the Minneriya National Park (depending on the elephant movement, we may visit the nearby Kaudulla National Park or Eco Park instead). The 8,890 hectares of Minneriya National Park consists of mixed evergreen forest and scrub areas and is home to favourites such as elephants and sambar deer. The central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank (built in 3rd century AD by King Mahasena). During the dry season (June to September), this tank is an incredible place to observe the elephants who come to bathe and graze, as well as the huge flocks of birds that come to fish in the waters. (B,D)
Day 3: Dambulla Cave Temples
This morning visit the Dambulla Cave Temples, one of the largest and best preserved cave temple complexes in Sri Lanka. Located in the north central province, this UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to the 1st century BC, and is an amazing complex of five caves. These caves were first used as a refuge by an ancient king who, on regaining his throne, commissioned magnificent carved images within the living rock. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure. (B,D)
Day 4: Depart to the beach
Today we return to Negombo/Colombo by road (approximately 4–5 hours) or by light aircraft with Cinnamon Air (approximately 1 hour). (B)
Meals: B=Breakfast, D=Dinner
Please Note: There is a supplement applicable to drop off at our south coast hotels at the end of the tour, please ask your agent for prices.
Dates & prices
The table below shows our escorted tour departure dates.
Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability and date of departure.
Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated. Single room and flight prices are available at a supplement.
Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.
Pre/Post Tour Options
This Sigiriya Explorer is a 3-night extension designed to fit in-between your stay in your chosen beach hotel. As the Cultural Triangle region is in the central north of Sri Lanka we recommend staying in the Negombo area either side as the southern beaches will add an extra 4-5 hours of driving time.
GMT +5 hours 30 minutes (summer) +6 hours 30 minutes (winter)
- Air-conditioned transport with private driver/guide
- Sightseeing as detailed, including entrance fees and still camera fees
- Accommodation and meal inclusions as mentioned
- Road taxes, parking fees, fuel surcharges and porterage at airports.
- International flight, including all UK and overseas airport taxes and applicable fuel surcharges
- Flight upgrades and airport transfers in the UK
- Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips and gratuities, video camera fees at monuments
- Anything not detailed on the itinerary.
Occasionally due to availability or other circumstances we may need to substitute one or more of the hotels with that of a similar standard.
Sri Lankan roads are windy and there are few highways so journey times between destinations can be very long and those listed in the itinerary are approximate. If optional excursions are added or ad hoc visits are required this may add extra time on the roads. This tour have been designed by our destination experts so we have tried to build in free time to relax and added internal flights where we think cutting journey times may improve your experience.
In some instances you may want to add an internal flight to cut transfer times, for the Sigiriya Explorer you can add the Colombo to Sigiriya flight for an additional cost, please ask your Virgin Holidays agent.
English is widely spoken in Sri Lanka.
Holders of UK Passports will require a visa to visit Sri Lanka. This must be obtained in advance for US$30.00 and can be completed at: http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa